Dods EU Alert: Final JHA meeting to tackle a heavy agenda

Greek Presidency sets out plans for the Justice and Home Affairs Council, due to take place on 5-6 June in Luxembourg.

By Dods EU monitoring

03 Jun 2014

The last European Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council under the Greek Presidency will go through a heavy agenda. Key priorities of the Presidency, such as border security, terrorism, data protection, insolvency and the future development of the JHA area will be debated at the Council.

Home Affairs

EU Ministers for Home Affairs will discuss issues related to security of European borders, terrorism, as well as the future direction in European cooperation during a formal Meeting of Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) ministers on June 5 and 6 in Luxembourg.

The Greek Presidency represented by the Minister οf Public Order and Citizen Protection, Nikos Dendias and Deputy Minister of Interior, Leonidas Grigorakos will present the work programme on the Home Affairs items on June 5.

Initially, the Council will hold a policy debate on the proposal for a Regulation concerning the European Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation and Training (Europol). Ministers will pursue the conclusion of an agreement in terms of the future of both Europol and Cepol.

The Greek Presidency will provide an update on the current legislative initiative in the area of legal migration, that is, on the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing.

Τhe Presidency will present the state of play in the area of foreign fighters and returnees from a counter-terrorism perspective, in particular with regards to Syria.  Ministers will also have the opportunity to discuss the revised EU strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism.

Moreover, the Presidency will provide an update on the current legislative initiative in terms of ‘Smart Borders’.

The Commission will present in broad lines its communications on the application of directive 2009/52/EC providing for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third country nationals, as well as on the implementation of directive 2009/60/EC on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of highly qualified employment (EU Blue Card).

During the Mixed Committee meeting, the Council will be briefed by the Commission on the progress of the operational actions of the Task Force Mediterranean, as well as on the functioning of Schengen cooperation. Ministers will have the opportunity to exchange views on these issues.

Moreover, the Commission will present the developments on the proposal for a Regulation establishing a specific visa (Touring Visa), as well the developments on the proposal for a Regulation establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code).

In the course of the Council of the European Union, a Swiss delegation will update ministers about the results of the 7th Meeting of the Global Forum on International Migration and Development, held in Stockholm on 14-16 May 2014. Also, Poland will inform Ministers on the results of the informal meeting of Home Affairs Ministers of Schengen States with external land borders, held in Poland on 13-14 May 2014.

At the end of the Mixed Committee meeting, Italy will present the programme of the incoming Presidency.

During the Council’s joint session (Home Affairs and Justice), Ministers will examine the future development in JHA area in the post-Stockholm period and have a final discussion on the draft Strategic Guidelines the European Council is due to adopt later in the month. The guidelines provide a roadmap for EU work in the area of Justice, Freedom and Security for the period 2015-2019. Special attention will be paid to the consequences emanating from the invalidation by the European Court of Justice of Directive 2006/24/EC on the retention of data. Moreover, JHA Ministers will discuss and adopt conclusions on the EU anti-corruption report, adopted by the European Commission in February this year. The Council will also hear the annual report of the Fundamental Rights Agency and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EEMCDDA).

In the margins of the JHA Council meeting, a Joint Declaration establishing a Mobility Partnership between Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the European Union and its participating Member States will be singed, in the framework of promoting cooperation between the EU and third countries of particular migration interest.

Justice

On the second day, the Council, chaired by Minister of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, Charalampos Athanasiou, will seek a partial general approach on Chapter V (Transfer of personal data to third countries or international organisations), the respective definitions of Binding Corporate Rules and "international organisation" and the territorial scope of the Data Protection Regulation. The Regulation aims at bettering control in personal data and boosting growth.

The Presidency will also hold an orientation debate regarding some proposed improvements to the one-stop-shop mechanism. This principle foresees one single supervisory authority for monitoring the activities of the data controller or processor throughout the Union in cross-border cases.

The Council will take note of the progress achieved at technical level on the other legislative proposal of the data protection package, namely the Directive governing the processing of personal data for the purposes of prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties.

The Presidency will seek a general approach on the Regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1346/2000 on insolvency. The proposal aims to facilitate insolvency proceedings and promote the recovery of viable businesses, while presenting a second chance for honest entrepreneurs.

The JHA Council is expected to reach an agreement on the Directive strengthening procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings. The proposal ensures that children are able to understand and follow the criminal proceedings against them and that they can exercise their right to a fair trial.

Ministers of Justice will also discuss the Regulation establishing the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). They will be asked to confirm the principle that priority competence to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the Union's financial interests will lie with the EPPO. Furthermore, they will share views on the model for supervision of operational work in Member States. Ministers will finally set guidelines for future work.

A new governance model for the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), which foresees the representation of the Commission in the College, will also be brought to discussion. The proposed Regulation aims at increasing Eurojust's efficiency and improving its operational effectiveness. 

Lastly, the Council will confirm the adoption of the second Multiannual European e-Justice Action Plan 2014-2018. The Action Plan contains a list of the projects considered for implementation in the field of e-Justice. It aims to build upon the work already undertaken and should be seen as part of a broader evolution towards a European area of Justice.

More on the Council's agenda here.

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